Seasons and Cycles

BY : Ghost-of-a-Chance
Category: +S through Z > Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
Dragon prints: 194
Disclaimer: I don't own TMNT or any related nonsense and make no money from this fan-work. If I were that lucky, we certainly wouldn't be living on ramen.

Originally posted as the second part of "Dribble-Drabble" in the Gallery of Memories. Seasons and Cycles is set sometime after Twenty-Six; Donnie and Amber are as good as permanent and considering the future, but there's one thing he never counted on coming between them…HORMONES. Seriously, this one's so sappy it'll rot your teeth! Aside from the cavity-sweetness, it's rated mid-M for blatant adult themes, potty-mouth, and some non-explicit intimacy, lots of awkward moments, and a mild rant in the notes. Also rated WTF because it took a whole freakin' day of research to get my Gaelic, slang, and colloquialisms straight, even with my extensive notes—Scots Gaelic is one tough language!

 Suggested Listening: John Legend "Stay with You," Luke Ryan "Rain is a Good Thing"

Seasons and Cycles

Last Spring, Amber O'Brien was too broken to enjoy the end of winter. After all, in the world she came from, it was just a transition from ice storms to thunderstorms—not a lot to celebrate when you're fighting a debilitating storm phobia. Now, she lives in New York—in a city known more for mild drizzling rain than funnel-decked gully-washers—and thanks to the hazel-eyed genius buried up to the shoulders under the hood of Casey's battered pickup, she's learning to enjoy rain again.

Of course, she admits with a warm fluttering in her gut, Spring isn't just marked by changes in weather…millions of fangirls in her world believe Spring also means mating season. Ever since she and Donatello finally quit dancing around one another like idiots—okay, ever since the first time they got to know one another's bodies on a more intimate level—Amber's been waiting for Spring with a mixture of anxiety and eagerness. Anxiety can be explained easily; she does have PTSD, after all, and Spring is one of her triggers thanks to the damn monster storm that killed her. As for eagerness…well, let's just say her Donnie's a fast learner, eager to please, and what he lacks in bullshit-macho-posturing he makes up for with enthusiasm and skill.

"Brake," Donatello calls out from under the hood. Almost sulking, Amber steps on the brake as ordered; for a turtle being driven mad by hormones, he's certainly not in any hurry to jump'er. She's callin' bullshit. "I said brake, Hon."

"I did," Amber snaps back, releasing then pressing the groaning pedal again; "That creak ain't my knee, ya know." For good measure, she pumps the pedal one more time then lobs out the open window, "I'm tellin' ya, it ain't the brakes or the engine—yer lookin' in the wrong damn spot!"

"I've looked everywhere, Amber! You know how many moving parts are in this thing?! I've checked every one I can think of!" In a fit of uncharacteristic temper, he slams the hood down scowling at the hated truck and stands seething over the dented hood. In her previous life, the arm Amber drapes along the open window was much meatier, perpetually sunburned, and covered in more freckles than the rest of her body combined. She watches Donatello silently seething, unimpressed by what amounts to an overworked and undersexed man losing his cool.

"Ya know," she points out blandly, "Yellin' at it won't do any good. I tried – Ol' Jumper died on me."

"You seriously named your car after the mule from Old Yeller?" he grumbles at her, and she shrugs.

"Callin' it Devil's child gave Mum the fits," she explains with a shrug, her normally pronounced twang exaggerated ironically. "'s either call't Big Red Piece'a Shit or name't after a jackass." Sure enough, a strangled snort slipped past Don's clenched lips. With a lazy lopsided smile, Amber leans back in the seat and waits, counting down the moments 'til her Donnie returns in a flurry of snorts, wheezes, and guffaws. Instead, he stiffens, blanches, pulls the hood back up, and forces his eyes back to the engine, his shoulders and jaw tense.

"What could I have missed?" he mutters seemingly oblivious to his mate's dismay. "There's gotta be a reason for that rattle—trucks don't rattle for no reason!"

"Fark this." Without another word, Amber lurches out of the truck's cab and stalks off toward the farmhouse. As the distant screen door slams, Donatello slumps against the grill, breathing heavily, his eyes wild and his fingers clenched tightly to the hot metal. Even with the bay doors wide open and her gone, the barn is flooded with her pheromones – the teasing, tantalizing non-scents drive him crazy even when he's NOT fighting his baser instincts!

"Let's go to the farm, Leo said," Donatello mumbles mockingly. "It'll be great, Leo said! Never mind that it's raining daily and my mate's in friggin' estrus!" For the first time since last month's cycle, he's fighting a strong urge to collapse at his desk and repeatedly bang his head on the surface.

He and his brothers aren't humans and they aren't animals—they're a mix of the two previously unseen in their world. Everything's new, everything has to be handled with the greatest of care, and nothing can be taken for granted. He doesn't have high hopes that he and Amber could conceive, but it's not something he could rule out without testing. If they did conceive, God only knows if the child wouldn't miscarry, or if his mutagen-laced DNA would render the fetus stillborn, all arms, legs, and randomly misplaced organs like a monster out of some hokey b-movie horror flick—he shuts down the cold dread racing up his spine. Losing a child is something most couples never get past. He'd rather anything than subject Amber to the possibility of losing an unplanned baby…but he still hasn't found a tactful way to broach the subject. And to be bluntly honest, no one likes pulling out.

Sooner or later she's going to connect the dots. It's only a matter of time before she realizes that her estrus cycle always coincides with some urgent trouble—a 'training accident,' a super-important time-sensitive project, a spur of the moment abduction to save some random dumbass from themselves—usually one or more of Casey's possibly fictional distant future relatives. Amber's not an idiot…if she hasn't figured it out already, it's only a matter of time, and Hell hath no fury like a horny woman stuck with DIY.

"Could really use some advice, ya know," Don announces to the empty barn, his ears straining for a familiar sign—a ticking clock, an annoying, shrill laugh, the smell of dust and leather—anything would work. As every time before, though, he's completely alone…he's screwed. "Yeah, thanks for nothing…see if I fix ever fix your screw-ups again."

Amber storms into the shabby kitchen like a woman on a mission, only to stop dead at the counter and dig through the cooler on the floor. As every time before, she is faced with the painful truth that she forgot the Scotch…as every time before, she feels torn between tears and sarcasm. "Why's the rum always gone?" she mumbles pathetically.

"Ye drank it awl, Jack,"# Mercy snarks through the open window startling her. "Ye an' yer damn peanuts!" As her heart rate calms, Amber grins,

"Finally, someone who gets me! Where've ya been all my life?"

"Straight an' surrounded by cows," Mercy teases ducking through the kitchen door. "Fortunately for you, Pretty-Boy stocks actual rum—says'e makes a mean mojito." The blonde shrugs noncommittally. "Wouldn't touch it with a twenty-foot pole wit'a stick on th'end, but I don't drink." Amber smirks at the mental image of Mercy jousting with a living mojito and turns to dig a glass out of the cupboard.

"Don't really wanna drink," she admits as she draws tea from the jug on the windowsill. "Jus' miss home again…miss when things actually made some farkin' sense."

"More farkin' sense than Donnie bangin' that heap'a bolts instead'a you?" Mercy suggests slyly, her denim blue eyes grinning as widely as her lips. Amber slumps down at the counter, almost missing the barstool.

"I think yer filter broke, Merse," she suggests dryly. "Yer startin' to talk like me."

"Blame Raph" Mercy shrugs drawing a glass of tea for herself and downing it in a single breath. "He's not one fer holdin'is tongue, an' don't see why I do…filters're overrated anyway. So what's the deal?" Refilling her glass, she watches Amber warily out of the corner of one blue eye. "This time'a the month, Raph can't keep'is hands off me, but yer gettin' twat-blocked left-an'-right." Amber snorts.

"Twat-blocked ain't the half of it," she grumbles into her tea. "He's even started avoidin' me…only let me hang out today 'cause I offered to help with that damn truck." She shakes her head, unintentionally whacking Mercy with the single grey-streaked braid running down her back. "All those brains, an'e ain't figured out the catalytic converter's the problem—that beast is so old the platinum's fallin' loose inside, jus' like with Ol'—" She trails off, green eyes wide and one twitching.

"That SKUNK!" she shrieks suddenly, startling Mercy half out of her skin. "That brilliant, frustrating, manipulative SKUNK! He's not tryin'a fix it, he's tryin'a push me away!" Suddenly everything makes sense…his evasive behavior, his single-minded insistence on working, and especially the way his nostrils kept flaring every time she found herself contemplating jumping him. Estrus…the bane of womankind, the lesser-known sister of the ever-hated menstruation, and the time when a woman was most fertile and most horny.

"He doesn't know, does he?" Mercy asks lowly, one blonde brow arching up beyond her bangs; Amber shakes her head in denial.

"I need'a favor, Hon," the brunette admits tersely. "…we're gonna need Raph."

One moment, Donatello was pacing the confines of the barn, struggling to piece together a way to broach the subject of monthly fertility with Amber. Now he's lying in the dark, bound hand and foot, and growing increasingly panicked. Was the farm attacked?! He was overpowered, clearly, but was anyone hurt? Oh, God—AMBER! What if Amber was hurt?!

Before his frenzied thought process can spiral any further out of control, a bright light buzzes to life right in his eyes, blinding him. "Where were you at oh-ten-hundred hours last night?!" someone demands in a poor imitation of some random movie interrogation scene. Donatello clamps his mouth shut, certain that if he so much as says a word, his loved ones could be in serious danger at the hands of the unseen nutjob; with his mouth closed, however, there's nothing to block out the familiar scents—and non-scents—in his direct vicinity: coconut, mango, black tea, and fertile, frustrated woman.

He sighs, shakes his head, and glares just to the left of the work light. "Really, Amber?" he deadpans. "Really?" Sure enough, the work light's turned to the wall, the light reflection illuminating an irate brunette at his side…and the loft of the barn. She only takes her eyes off him long enough to turn the overhead light on, then stands glaring at him, arms crossed under her ample breasts defensively. "I get that you're upset, really, it's understandable, but did you have to tie me the futon?"

"Last chance to come clean without a fight," she warns schooling her face into what she hopes is a 'we are not amused' frown. When she had Raphael zip tie Donatello's unconscious body spread-eagled to the old metal framed futon, she'd endured no shortage of jabs about 'keeping it fresh' and having a secret bondage fetish. Now that she's faced with a helpless Donnie spread out on that very futon—the place where they first started learning one another's bodies—she's starting to wonder if Raph wasn't just being a smartass. Was she frustrated enough to take advantage of—before the thought can finish she forces it away, repulsed by an idea that could be misconstrued as rape, were the roles reversed.### No, no matter how desperate she became, she'd never take away Donatello's right to refusal. "I have ways of making you talk," she warns instead of acknowledging the tension crackling in the loft.

"That's what I'm afraid of," Donnie grumbles under his breath. She arches an eyebrow at him, sinks into the creaking desk chair, and crosses one jeans-clad leg over the other, clearly waiting for him to get it over with. Like ripping off a Band-Aid, he realizes with a cringe, this is gonna hurt. "You're…fertile…"

He trails off, cheeks blazing and avoiding her eyes. He isn't known for getting tongue-tied over awkward explanations—Mercy often refers to him as 'Dr. TMI'—but as always, that all flies out the window when he's with Amber. He's seen every inch of her, experienced every inch of her, and sometimes even several times daily—there isn't much they aren't willing to try at least once. Still, after over a year of awkward wakeups, close-calls, and really horrible timing, he can't tell her what's going on and still face her.

"You're worried I'll get pregnant," she acknowledges aloud; his wince is all the answer she needs, but he nervously rolls one hazel eye to meet hers. "That's why I'm getting shot, ya knucklehead." The slip of the tongue finally breaks her own cool, and she gives him a weak smile. "—shots …I meant shots." Compared to previous slips, he considers that one pretty mild…especially compared to the time they fell, landed in a tangled, horny, missionary style heap, and she blurted out "can I get off now?"## Despite many, MANY more filter fails since then, it was the only one that qualified as 'epic.'

Suddenly her words sink in. "Shots?" he repeats in disbelief. "You're…you've been taking contraceptives? –and you didn't tell me?"

"I'm sure I did at least once," she drawls teasingly, "But it probably came out as 'blah-blah-Scotch-blah-shots-blah-blah. Tol'ja I's boring." Without giving him a chance to refute her claims, she saunters toward him, digging her buck knife out of her boot sheath mid-stride. Right as she cuts the last zip tie binding him to the metal frame, she finds herself suddenly staring up at him instead of down. "Damn," she breathes letting the knife clatter to the floor. "Ya'd think ya were a ninja or—" Lips at her neck cut off the sarcastic remark and she trails off in a hushed moan. She's missed her Donnie; finally, the noise in her head is fading away.

"There's still a possibility," he points out even as he nuzzles her neck, not making a very good case for abstinence. Spring triggers a mating frenzy in many animals but more than not, it just makes him and his brothers restless. This time, he's beyond restless—he's lying cradled in the nook of his frustrated, fertile mate's thighs, his lungs flooded with her pheromones, and instead of doing something helpful—like shaking him silly!—she's yanking him closer by his neck and tangling their legs. He's lost…there never is any hope he could tell her no, after all, not when she gets this close to him. "Contraceptives aren't—foolproof," he warns even as she cuts him off repeatedly. "I need to—to run tests—and—"

"You'd better." She yanks him away from her neck for another kiss that ends in a bitten lip—his—followed by him latching his lips around the juncture of her throat just tight enough to pinch. "I'm gettin' sick'a gettin' jerked around…it ain't even the fun kind'a jerked around!" Her suspicions about the season grow stronger at the beginnings of a churr rattling his chest; not even a stitch of clothing missing, and the rumble's already sounding—score one for perverted fangirls! "If…If it's even possible…" Though her needy uterus is calling her all sorts of unflattering names for interrupting him, she stills him with a hand on his heart; he sits back on his heels, allowing her to sit up as well. "Would you ever want…kids?"

All the air seemingly sucked out of the loft, he stares nervously at her; finally, he answers with a hesitant smile, "It's certainly something to think about, right? Not like there's a rush or anything." Amber chuckles, staring at his chest.

"How ironic," she muses aloud. "Mum was always naggin' at me to get married an' start poppin' out gran'babies for'er, an' the only ones she'll ever get'd be half-human half-awesome."

"Where did she go wrong with you?" he teases, chucking her chin.

"She taught me to think fer myself—not my fault most guys're just testicles with legs." Donatello cringed.

"Not a pleasant image, Dear."

Rain drums a slow, steady percussion on the tin roof overhead. Up in the loft of the barn, two lovers lie still tangled in one another, their lungs slowing and their hearts full to bursting. Calloused fingertips trace an oft-traveled path across Amber's bare skin—every hill and valley in the road greeted with a fond caress, every scar and stretch mark made sacred with a kiss, and every spattering of freckles mapped out anew, and as every time before, the trail ends right over her pounding heart, only to start all over.

Even as Donatello's touch reminds her yet again that he loves her, all of her, even the parts of her some consider flaws, she reminds him of the same. Gentle touches trace reminders of previous battles—from barely noticeable childhood scars to still recent injuries in the line of duty. Why, Amber wonders as every time before, pausing to press a kiss to a still-tender scar on his shoulder, why would a clan so adamant about having honor consistently aim for the medic? If she'd ever doubted the Foot was led by hypocrites, that doubt was squashed by their refusal to observe the most basic of humanitarian law.

Lips meet and mingle in soft, fleeting brushes and nips punctuated with nuzzles and nose-rubs. At one time, Donatello was a little disappointed that he couldn't kiss Amber the way movies always portrayed kissing—even Raph and Mercy got pretty tongue-y and intense and admittedly, it was sometimes pretty horrifying to witness. Donnie doesn't feel left out, though…his over-large mouth and Amber's small jaw and harsh overbite aside, their lip locks are in a class all their own. Who needs slobber and teeth when your very heart is at your lips?

In these moments, there's no point in speaking—anything that hasn't been said can be seen in their eyes, heard in their heartbeats, and felt in their touch. Though words are superfluous, neither have ever been prone to holding their tongues. His words, as so often in such tender moments, stray into the litany of languages he's picked up, none of which he deems sufficient to say what he means; her words are slow, tinged with a lazy, drawling variation of her usual twang, and what she lacks in languages, she makes up for in sweetness and flattery. Darlin'—mornin' dew—the subject of her song, the door at the end of her road, her own personal Xanadu…he knows a lot of the endearments come from music and literature, but if anything, he's humbled to inspire such feelings in her, even if they're worded by others.

Somewhere between two of his personal favorites for her—itsumo aishiteru* and Mi sol y cielo, mi corazón y mi alma** —she surprises him entirely, so much so that he's momentarily struck speechless. "Qu—uh, what?" he catches himself quickly, tracing an emerging blush with the pad of his thumb. For a moment, she hesitates; then seeming to muster up her courage again, murmurs something he can only interpret as 'iyannan.' He searches his larder and every language in it but comes up empty.

"Somethin' tells me Gran'da wasn't kiddin' about that bein' an insult," Amber mumbles in embarrassment. "Granny Devon used to call'im that…Leannan,*** said it meant sweetheart or something like it." Before she can convince herself that she's—as she so charmingly puts it—"screwed the pooch," he gathers her in his arms and rolls onto his back, staring up with what he's sure is a sappy, dorky smile.

"It's perfect." Their bodies are cooling in the dusk and their physical connection is beyond salvage, but it matters none to them - their hearts have never been more connected. "Scots Gaelic, I'm assuming, as your grandparents were's one I've not heard before." Amber sits up astride his lap, greying brown hair falling loose from her braid and sticking to her shoulders and neck, and green eyes full of mischief. There's a lot she can't recall from her Gran'da and Granny's expansive Gaelic vocabulary, but she's finally able to contribute something besides poetic drivel—something she's quite happy about.

"Perfeck?" she murmurs, calling on years of gruff brogue from the grandfather she'd idolized and followed around like a lost puppy—a grandfather she could mimic with the best. "Dinnae fash sae, ye braw numpty," she teases trailing appreciative fingertips along the curves and angles of his partially fused plastron. "Dinnae ye ken? Yer a belter to ma twally arse, ye sook." ****

"I have no idea what you just said," Donnie admits staring owlishly at her, but she can see the telltale signs of a blush spreading from his snout outward. "Not sure I mind, either."

"I'll tell ya when yer older," Amber laughs dropping the act and returning to his lips; when they break apart again, the steady pitter-pat on the barn roof has intensified threefold. For a moment her eyes dart to the work bench in the corner and the battered weather radio on the surface, but her world turns topsy-turvy again. "You really love throwing me fer a loop, don't ya?" she teases Don. "Gonna give me vertigo if ya keep flippin' me like a pan—" Insistent lips cut her off and wrench from her a squeak that smooths into a sigh when her mate backs away, pinning her hips down with his talented hands.

"You trust me, right?" he teases, his ever-changing eyes gleaming golden brown in the dim light. As she nods weakly, telltale goosebumps parade up and down her skin—not only from the storm outside but his closeness and smug grin. He licks his lips, soaking in her pheromones and scent and ready to dive in nose first. "Remember," he teases lightly as he does every time storms drive them into one another's arms, "Rain is a good thing."


# A shameless PoTC reference, lol.

## See chapter 8 of "A New Lease on Life."

### Drama-mama alert! A lotta folks on this site would'a wanted that scene to turn out differently, but I stand my ground—rape is rape, and regardless of their gender, taking away someone's ability to decline or refuse that attention, whatever pretty words you put it in, is rape. Sorry to burst y'all's perverse bubbles, but anything akin to rape isn't my cuppa tea and I refuse to read OR write stories glorifying and justifying rape—it has nothing to do with prudishness, and everything to do with principals. That's my piece, and that's that.

* itsumo aishiteru Japanese, "I will always love you."

** Mi sol y cielo, mi corazón y mi alma – Spanish, roughly "My sun and sky, my heart and soul"

*** LeannanScots Gaelic, "Lover, Sweetheart, etc." Amber's pronunciation is INCREDIBLY ROUGH and I'm sure full'a errors—I'm NOT a native speaker, nor have I ever met a native speaker, and to be quite honest, my native language is Hick and my second language is Fratish. (Meaning I took French from a Puerto Rican then Spanish from a Brit and constantly mix the two with Brit-English and Hick-English beyond hope of use.)

**** "Dinnae fash sae, ye braw numpty. Dinnae ye ken? Yer a belter to ma twally arse, ye sook." Not Gaelic, just Scots slang. VERY roughly, "Don't fuss so much, ya handsome idiot. Don't ya know? You're fantastic compared to my stupid ass, ya big softie!" As a side note, 'numpty' means idiot but indicates affection rather than just calling someone an idiot—they're not just any idiot, they're YOUR idiot! My husband, Cold, and I are pretty weird so this fits us—our most affectionate pet names are insults—I'm his asshat and he's my dumbarse, and we love it that way! If we ever use certain actual terms of endearment—for instance, him calling me "Dear" or "Darlin'" or me calling him "Sweetcheeks" or "Honeybunch," it's a sign that person really f*cked up and should be running, lol! Thanks for readin', and I hope to hear from ya soon!

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